During the housing crisis, consumers in danger of losing their homes were often approached by unscrupulous companies making false promises they could help consumers delay foreclosures or evictions. One such company brought in nearly $3 million, and now the man behind the scenes is headed to prison.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Thursday that a California man has been sentence to four years in prison for operating a foreclosure rescue scheme for nearly six years.
According to the FBI, beginning in 2008 Karl Robinson offered mortgage rescue services under his name and through companies such as Stay in Your Home Today, 21st Century Development, and Genesis Ventures Corporation.
Robinson, and a group of co-conspirators, allegedly approached distressed homeowners promising to delay foreclosures or evictions through a variety of rescue schemes.
In one case, Robinson offered fraudulent foreclosure delay solutions by taking part in what the FBI describes as a partial-interest bankruptcy scam.
Through this process, a company or individual asked a homeowner to provide partial interest in their home to someone else. The consumer then makes mortgage payments to the operator in lieu of paying the actual mortgage.
Instead of using the funds to pay the mortgage, the scheme operator instead kept the money and filed bankruptcy without the homeowner’s knowledge. After this a court will often issue a “stay” preventing the foreclosure temporarily, but the homeowner must still pay the loan.
In another scheme, Robinson delayed the eviction of clients whose homes were sold in foreclosure. To do this, he falsely claimed in state court eviction actions that his clients still had tenants in those homes. He would then postpone the evictions by filing bankruptcies for the fictional tenants.
The FBI opened an investigation into Robinson and his companies in Aug. 2013. In 2016, he pleaded guilty to his part in running the multi-year scheme.